When I attended a meeting earlier this week about a new sales tax for my suburb, there was a continuing theme that was disturbing. What I heard from supporters of the tax was bad, but what I heard from opponents was just as bad, because many of them were hypocrites.
In order to sell the tax, politicians are throwing out bait in the form of various projects that they promise to do with the money. The disturbing thing I heard from many tax opponents is that they’re adamantly against the tax, but they want the projects done anyway.
We’re a nation of people who have had costs disconnected from benefits — to the point that most people don’t seem to make the connection anymore. People want good things to just magically happen. It doesn’t occur to them that it’s their responsibility to find a way to provide what they want. They’ve been trained to believe that The Government will take care of everything.
You can see how out of touch people have become by looking at things said during the health care debate last year. Many of those who opposed the Democrats’ efforts to take over even more huge chunks of the medical system didn’t seem to understand that much of what they have now is already “socialized medicine” — and nobody better threaten to take it away from them.
The classic example is represented by the sign above. Ignoring the other issues with the sign, it’s hard to take someone seriously as an opponent of big government when she’s opposing one form of state-run health care because she’s afraid it will hurt a different form of state-run health care that she does like.
There are two possibilities. One is that people are too stupid (or too unaware, to put it more politely) to notice the contradiction. Maybe some of them truly just haven’t made the connection. Maybe they believe The Government has vast store houses of wealth just waiting to serve us. Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to them that the state has nothing that it doesn’t first steal from us.
The other possibility is the scarier one. They might see the connection, but they just don’t care as long as they get what they want.
A politician trying to force people to pay for things — or make it clear that people can’t have the things they want from government — is going to lose his election. So winning politicians are going to promise whatever people want. It’s insane, but that’s the way the incentives work.
I’m honestly not sure whether people are stupid (or “unaware”) or if they just don’t care. It’s probably some combination. But no matter how you slice it, people want things and they want someone else to pay for them. Is it any wonder that we’re heading for economic and social collapse?